- Not one, but two laps quicker than anyone else for Ticktum
- Ticktum, Norris and Pull make it an all-15-year-old qualifying top three
DONINGTON PARK 18 APRIL, 2015 – Dan Ticktum underlined the strong pace he showed in pre-event testing to bag both pole positions for the Fortec Motorsports team in qualifying this morning. Fifteen-year-old Ticktum saved the best of his tyres until near the end of the 20-minute session and banged in two laps quicker than any of his rivals could achieve.
His best lap time,1m 07.668s, earned him the pole for this afternoon’s fourth round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship, and his next quickest, just 0.073s shy, puts him at the front of the grid for Sunday afternoon’s live-televised Donington finale.
Dan’s opening weekend in MSA Formula, at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago, was compromised by a relatively poor performance in qualifying. “We took a risk at Brands and unfortunately it didn’t pay off,” said Ticktum, “but the set-up was perfect today and I was able to put together a couple of good laps. The races aren’t going to be easy but it certainly helps starting from the pole. Hopefully I can make a break at the start and get away: that would be the ideal scenario.”
Carlin’s Lando Norris ran Ticktum closest and will start from P2 for both rounds four and six, with JTR’s James Pull making it an all-15-year-old top three for both races. “It was a good session for me,” said James. “I really love this circuit and third is a really good place to start and I can definitely develop from there in the races.”
Double R’s Gustavo Myasava, who left Brands Hatch point-less after a succession of mishaps, found Donington much more to his liking. The Brazilian, who turned 19 yesterday, said: “I am very pleased but also a little surprised to be P4; it’s a nice birthday present.” Gustavo’s countryman and team-mate Matheus Leist was less happy after a suspension problem caused him to spin through a gravel trap; he ended the session only 18th.
Sandy Mitchell, who endured a torrid time in qualifying at Brands Hatch, was the leading TRS Arden driver, fifth overall, with SWB Motorsport’s talented Brazilian Rafael Martins sixth fastest and pleased with his first competitive outing at Donington. Dan Baybutt will line up seventh for JTR this afternoon, disappointed to have lost a little time with some driving errors but happy his slick Hankooks will be in good shape for the races.
Ricky Collard (Arden), Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) and Jack Barlow (MBM) completed the top 10, Fielding suffering from downshift problems and Barlow rueing the decision to change his car’s set up following Thursday’s test, which rendered it a handful to drive. “I bottomed out through Goddards and went straight off and across the grass,” said Jack. “I was lucky to get away with it.”
Petru Florescu suffered a late-session off; he was 12th fastest but will start from the back of the grid all weekend after taking a penalty for receiving a fresh engine. Ameya Vaidyanathan impressed on his championship debut with JTR to go 13th quickest, but the other new face, Ollie Pidgley, was bothered by throttle problems which left his Richardson Racing-prepared car 21st and last.
Falcon Motorsport is reduced to single-car strength this weekend after the squad’s Romanian racer, Alexandra Marinescu, was recommended a further week of rest following her Brands Hatch testing accident on the eve of the new season. “The recovery went normally until now,” said Alexandra, “but the doctors considered that I might be subjected to too much stress too soon after the accident so, in accordance with their recommendations, we’ve decided not to compete this weekend. I would have liked to start in this round, but my safety is a priority. I’ll continue the training and I cannot wait to start again in the third round, at Thruxton.” Falcon’s Darius Karbaley was 19th fastest overall.
Round four of the championship follows at 1500.
Provisional qualifying top 10 Donington Park 18 April 2015
1 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:07.668
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:07.829
3 James PULL / GBR / JTR 1:07.904
4 Gustavo MYASAVA / BRA / Double R 1:08.005
5 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:08.141
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB 1:08.142
7 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 1:08.219
8 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:08.252
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:08.329
10 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM 1:08.336 etc
Second-fastest times (Round 6 grid) Ticktum – Norris – Pull – Myasava – Mitchell – Martins – Collard – Herta – Barlow – Fielding etc